May 15, 2013
Hon. Julius Genachowski
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
Dear Chairman Genachowski:
We understand that Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) sent you a letter dated May 6, 2013 asking the Commission to conclusively state whether the two brothers allegedly responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing were recipients of Lifeline benefits and, if the Commission is unable to so state, to freeze the Lifeline program.
However you determine to respond to this request to confirm whether the brothers were recipients of Lifeline benefits, we respectfully encourage the Commission not to freeze the Lifeline program. Instead, the Commission should continue to reform and modernize Lifeline, and to take appropriate steps to detect and prevent waste, fraud and abuse of USF resources while ensuring that Lifeline remains available to those who qualify and who need the supported service. We further encourage the Commission to continue to allow Lifeline-eligible low-income households to choose from among wireless and wireline Lifeline programs based on those households’ preferences and needs. [click to continue…]
Today the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on the future of video service in America, taking into consideration how the marketplace has continued to evolve given the myriad choices in programming channels and in delivery mechanisms – including the explosion in online video. At the hearing, Senator John McCain reintroduced the discredited idea of forcing distributors to sell programming on a per-channel or a la carte basis – an idea he unsuccessfully championed in 2004 and again in 2006.
But the reasons that a la carte was roundly rejected by Congress years ago are just as relevant today: such rules would decimate the economic model that has encouraged ever-increasing diversity of viewpoints on television and has made possible even the modest increase in minority ownership of programming. [click to continue…]
Washington, D.C. (May 13, 2013): The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) is pleased that the FCC has begun its research on the IP transition.
The FCC’s approach addresses four key areas related to the IP transition: VOIP Interconnection, TDM to fiber, wireline to wireless, and next-generation 911, and asks whether additional trials are needed. The technology transition to IP-enabled services is already underway, and it is critical that federal regulators address all of the technical, policy, and regulatory questions in an open, transparent, and expeditious process that includes civil rights and consumer advocacy organizations, public safety, state regulators, and industry.
In Comments filed in January 2013, sixteen national minority organizations, including MMTC, endorsed the “relief requested” in AT&T’s IP transition petition – i.e., beta tests in specific geographic markets. Inasmuch as the transition is underway and consumers need it to proceed rapidly, the Commission should accelerate its research efforts and plan to start beta tests by the fall of this year. [click to continue…]
Part I of a two-part series.
As our nation slowly recovers from the recent recession, policymakers are devising ways to improve the job market and restore consumer and corporate confidence to generate spending that will improve the economy.
In The Politics of Abundance: How Technology Can Fix the Budget, Revive the American Dream, and Establish Obama’s Legacy, Reed Hundt and Blair Levin delve into the two industries that connect our communities and impact the economy – knowledge and power. The knowledge platform consists of the Internet, related technology, and all devices that connect to it. The power platform relates to energy resources necessary to support modern society and commerce. The authors assert that creating and sustaining efficiencies in these areas will promote private investment, lead to job growth, and ultimately generate revenue. [click to continue…]
Remarks on Hillary Clinton’s new “glamorous” haircut may cost her the presidency race in 2016, if she decides to run. A recent study shows that when it comes to women in politics, compliments may hurt more than help.
Name It. Change It. has found that women running for office find themselves in trouble when the media comment on their physical appearance. The Women’s Media Center teamed up with She Should Run to research how media coverage on a woman’s appearance has a negative impact on her viability as a candidate. Their project, Name It. Change It., staged a hypothetical horse race between female candidate Jane Smith and male candidate Dan Jones.
The organization presented a series of fake news stories to 1,500 participants. Voters read a profile about the two candidates and then read news stories on each. When the participants didn’t hear about Smith’s appearance she gained 50 percent of the votes. When a comment on Jane’s physical appearance was placed in an article, she lost ground to Jones. [click to continue…]
It’s past time to set the record straight on Lifeline, the essential service to low-income families that has recently suffered fallacious attacks and been mislabeled as the “Obama Phone” program.
Recently, political talking heads have falsely and irresponsibly excoriated the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline telephone program as a product of the Obama Administration, saying it is focused on giving free cell phones to poor people as a method of garnering their votes.
Here are the real facts about this important program.
The Lifeline program has been around for 27 years and it has nothing to do with President Obama. It was established in 1985 – under the Reagan Administration – as a means of helping low-income households gain access to a “lifeline” of communication and emergency services through home telephone service. And in 2005 – under the Bush II Administration – the FCC recognized changing technology and usage patterns and expanded the program to provide cell phones to qualified low-income households. Contrary to the false statements that have been thrown out by pundits, there are no “unlimited” cell phone plans; the Lifeline program provides poor households with 250 minutes per month of cell phone access. [click to continue…]
As Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) continues to combat injustice in the telecom and media space, we have seen that these industries do not represent the nation’s demographics, nor have there been meaningful discussions about how the Latinos’ lack of representation in these industries is undemocratic and morally wrong.
Currently, there are over 51 million Latinos in the U.S. (both native and foreign born). Latinos are the nation’s largest minority group, representing 16.4% of the U.S. population . Yet minority radio, television and cable ownership continue to spiral toward zero. LISTA research shows that as of 2009, only approximately 7.24% of commercial radio stations were minority-owned, and that only about 3% and 5% of full power television stations are owned by minorities and women, respectively. [click to continue…]
Washington, D.C. (April 30, 2013): The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) proudly commends President Barack Obama for selecting senior FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and telecom visionary Tom Wheeler to be Interim Chair and Chair of the FCC, respectively.
Last week, MMTC and 49 other organizations, including the NAACP, League of United Latin American Citizens, and the Alliance for Women in Media, wrote to the President to encourage him to nominate FCC Commissioners that would prioritize minority and women’s issues. The letter cited the disproportionately low representation of women and minorities in media and telecom ownership, procurement, employment, and entrepreneurship in industries overseen by the FCC.
Since joining the FCC in 2009, Commissioner Clyburn has served as a bastion of support for minority and women’s issues, having recently been instrumental in defending the Universal Service Fund’s Lifeline Program, and speaking out against predatory prison payphone rates that disproportionately impact minorities and women. [click to continue…]
As President Obama continues to appoint new leadership positions within his cabinet, a replacement for FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has yet to be named. A recent convening by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) heralded the importance of women leadership at the FCC, and among those in attendance were some of the top names being floated for the role of Chair.
To date, a woman has never chaired the Commission, but the impact of women in media – both in terms of what happens in policy space as well as in determining the images that are projected across the media is palpable. [click to continue…]
“I need to tell them that I’m okay!” A phrase that was likely uttered numerous times in the midst of the recent chaos in Boston. Thousands of people were glued to their screens mid-morning on April 15th in the wake of the news that the Boston Marathon had been bombed. Then, even more troubling news hit in the form of an Associated Press report that cell phone service was intentionally disconnected.
Although the report was ultimately proven to be false, the idea that people would not be able to confirm their survival to worried loved ones creates an uneasiness with which most people could empathize. However, considering the debacle that occurred in 2011 when San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) District used its controversial cell interruption policy to quell area demonstrations, the rumor following Boston’s terror attack did not seem so far-fetched. In fact, a government’s ability to cut off cell phone service following social unrest or public danger is a hotly debated topic not only in the U.S., but on the world stage. [click to continue…]